[Note from Frolic: Today, we welcome author Julie Valerie to the site. Take it away, Valerie!]
Motherhood is the most important job in the world, but it’s also the toughest. Take a break to curl up with a great book. There’s something for everyone on my list of “9 Books About Mom Life Every Mother Should Read.” Enjoy!
In no particular order . . .
For moms needing a break: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
Amy Byler, a librarian and single mom in rural Pennsylvania, sets out for a “momspringa” in New York City when her estranged husband returns offering to take the kids for the summer. Enjoy the heartfelt letters from daughter Cori, who helps to clarify it’s not true only a “bad” mom would take a momspringa. Bad moms don’t need momspringas. Good moms do. Insightful, knowing, and keenly empathetic to the feeling of losing oneself in the service of motherhood, especially while coping with a marriage that’s falling apart, The Overdue Life of Amy Byler is a must-read for moms everywhere.
For school moms needing a laugh: You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman
She’s baaaack! Laugh with the exasperated, fed-up Jen Dixon, the hysterical, often snarky William Taft room mom at the center of Book Two in Laurie Gelman’s Class Mom series, You’ve Been Volunteered. Move swiftly through a school year enjoying whip-smart, sometimes biting humor. Jen is brutally honest to a fault, and I suspect that’s why readers love her. This is a devilishly funny read, and some of Gelman’s best work lies in the emails Jen Dixon writes. Oh, but watch out, Jen. A new PTA president is asking to be cc’d on all correspondence.
For moms needing a reality check: That’s What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell
A cautionary tale of luck and misfortune set amid the gossip-drenched world of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, fraud and betrayal follow Julia Summers, a well-to-do wife and mother of two in That’s What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell. So often, when we feel our lives spiraling out of control, a moment of enlightenment rises to the surface asking us to confront what we created. I read, captivated by the mounting, forceful showdown between two women in the novel while also intrigued by the scandal that leads to Julia’s husband’s arrest. Feel compassion for Julia as she self-reflects, learns the meaning of true friendship, and sets out to right the wrongs she committed.
For moms learning to accept their flawed and beautiful life: Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan
Hilarity everywhere as less-than-perfect mother-of-one Ashley is granted a spot in a five-week transformation program run by celebrity mom lifestyle guru Emily Walker. Both touching and laugh-out-loud, Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan is a must-read for modern moms trying their best amid an Instagram world of seemingly perfect, holier-than-thou “mom life influencers” touting the latest brand of impossible expectations. What the media-produced mom world needs most is a heavy dose of reality.
For moms seeking their own way through: Beside Herself by Elizabeth LaBan
You find out your husband has had an affair. You should have one, too. Right? Hannah Bent, an otherwise happy wife and mother-of-two thinks so, and in Elizabeth LaBan’s Beside Herself, that’s precisely what Hannah sets out to do. I enjoyed this book for the personal journey Hannah took and for the questions that journey raised: What happens to a marriage after an affair? Do two wrongs make a right? Is it possible to start over? How high is the price of something worth saving?
For moms needing to chill out: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
From the moment Kate lands a job she’s not prepared for as an admissions counselor for a prestigious Manhattan private school, comic gamesmanship by an eccentric cast of parents ensues. Enjoy Amy Poeppel’s Small Admissions, a novel with a satirical romp through the cutthroat world of private school admissions. With themes of acceptance and rejection, the writing is witty, finely crafted, and spot-on. I laughed and squirmed and didn’t want it to end
For moms realizing things are not okay: I’m Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagán
“How are you?” becomes a haunting question as tragedy strikes, boundaries are tested, and emotions unravel in Camille Pagán’s I’m Fine and Neither Are You. A powerful, character-driven novel with precise language and exacting insights into motherhood, marriage, finding the courage to admit you’re not okay, and one woman’s quest to make sense of it all. At times heartbreaking, but oh-so-current, Pagán’s brilliant novel shines an important light on the opioid crisis in America. This book is unputdownable and is as deep as it is rewarding. For anyone realizing either they or someone they love is not okay, don’t be afraid to admit that things are wrong. And please, ask for help before it’s too late.
For moms seeking employment or facing a milestone birthday: How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
In How Hard Can It Be? Kate Reddy, the working mom heroine I fell in love with in Allison Pearson’s debut novel I Don’t Know How She Does It returns in a story brimming with family life complications amid heroine Kate’s search for employment while facing a milestone birthday and finding herself “somewhere in the middle . . . facing forward while looking back.” What I loved most? The mother/daughter relationship and watching midlife Kate grab more out of life.
For moms needing to reclaim that part of them that was lost: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
For moms who’ve set their careers aside to raise a family, I recommend Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, not only for its message about reclaiming what was lost, but for its inventive structure, whip-smart satire, and hilarious storytelling. When mother Bernadette disappears two days before Christmas, fifteen-year-old Bee must assemble the clues that point to her mother’s whereabouts in this clever book about losing yourself, finding your way home, and rediscovering the genius within. One of my all-time favorites.
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About the Author:
Julie Valerie is a wife and mother of four who lives and writes in Virginia amid the mayhem and merriment of her motley crew. On a mission to make moms laugh, her first novel, Holly Banks Full of Angst, (Book 1 in the Village of Primm series) releases December 2019 with Lake Union Publishing.
Learn more about Julie Valerie at julievalerie.com.
Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie, out now.
Holly Banks could not have made a worse first impression on the seemingly perfect moms in her new affluent community, the Village of Primm. Turns out wearing pink piggy pajama bottoms while dropping off her kindergartener late to the first day of school wasn’t her best look.
Not to mention Holly’s worried her husband may be having an affair, she can’t get her daughter to stop sucking her thumb, her hard-won film degree is collecting dust, and to top it all off, the power-hungry PTA president clearly has it in for her…
To make matters even worse, Holly’s natural eye for drama lands her smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood mystery—right as her own crazy mother shows up in Primm “to help.” Through it all, Holly begins to realize her neighbors may be just as flawed as—and even wackier than—she is, leaving her to wonder: Is there such a thing as a perfect mom?